The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. The Greedy Algorithm might provide us with an efficient
way of doing this.
A jigsaw where pieces only go together if the fractions are
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Is it always possible to combine two paints made up in the ratios
1:x and 1:y and turn them into paint made up in the ratio a:b ? Can
you find an efficent way of doing this?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
A decorator can buy pink paint from two manufacturers. What is the
least number he would need of each type in order to produce
different shades of pink.
The number 2.525252525252.... can be written as a fraction. What is
the sum of the denominator and numerator?
Ben passed a third of his counters to Jack, Jack passed a quarter
of his counters to Emma and Emma passed a fifth of her counters to
Ben. After this they all had the same number of counters.
Rectangle PQRS has X and Y on the edges. Triangles PQY, YRX and XSP
have equal areas. Prove X and Y divide the sides of PQRS in the
A mother wants to share a sum of money by giving each of her
children in turn a lump sum plus a fraction of the remainder. How
can she do this in order to share the money out equally?
What angle is needed for a ball to do a circuit of the billiard
table and then pass through its original position?
The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = n² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
My two digit number is special because adding the sum of its digits to the product of its digits gives me my original number. What could my number be?
A circle of radius r touches two sides of a right angled triangle,
sides x and y, and has its centre on the hypotenuse. Can you prove
the formula linking x, y and r?
Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?
What is the smallest number with exactly 14 divisors?
Do you know a quick way to check if a number is a multiple of two? How about three, four or six?
Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
If the hypotenuse (base) length is 100cm and if an extra line
splits the base into 36cm and 64cm parts, what were the side
lengths for the original right-angled triangle?
The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is,
satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in
a circle with a unit radius?
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
Water freezes at 0°Celsius (32°Fahrenheit) and boils at 100°C (212°Fahrenheit). Is there a temperature at which Celsius and Fahrenheit readings are the same?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
There is a particular value of x, and a value of y to go with it,
which make all five expressions equal in value, can you find that
x, y pair ?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
A game for 2 or more people, based on the traditional card game
Rummy. Players aim to make two `tricks', where each trick has to
consist of a picture of a shape, a name that describes that shape,
and. . . .
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
Here are four tiles. They can be arranged in a 2 by 2 square so that this large square has a green edge. If the tiles are moved around, we can make a 2 by 2 square with a blue edge... Now try to. . . .
Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating
shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds
leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each
other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return,
400. . . .
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Each of the following shapes is made from arcs of a circle of
radius r. What is the perimeter of a shape with 3, 4, 5 and n
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?